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Scope of the Journals

Notes for authors submitting papers for publication in Palaeontology and Special Papers in Palaeontology


Palaeontology publishes papers on any aspect of palaeobiology and allied disciplines (for example, facies analysis, biostatigraphy). It is imperative that a paper has considerable novelty and wide appeal to the readership. Papers solely describing new species of common genera will not usually accepted (e.g. with a title such as: 'A new species of …'). Papers on Recent material are acceptable if their relevance to the history of life is clear. The categories of publication are:

  1. Rapid Communication: short manuscripts (typically 4–6, and always less than ten printed pages) reporting findings that are particularly timely, noteworthy or novel. These are subject to peer-review in the usual manner, but after acceptance, their publication is expedited. Note that by its being short in length a manuscript is not automatically a Rapid Communication.
  2. Original Research Article: These are typically 10 to 25 printed pages; manuscripts in excess of 60 printed pages will not usually be considered. These are subject to peer-review, and published in sequence after their date of acceptance. The scope of both these categories includes notices or discussion of new software packages for palaeontological evolutionary research. As a 'rule of thumb': 2.5 manuscript pages written in Times New Roman, font size 12 , and double spaced are equivalent to 1 printed page.
  3. Comments and Replies. We welcome discussion of any paper published recently in Palaeontology. Comments are not peer-reviewed, but are instead shared with the corresponding author of the original article who may append a response (the Reply). Both are published together, ideally in the part after that in which the original article appeared.
  4. Review Articles. These should not be submitted without prior agreement. A short proposal outlining the scope of the review should be submitted in writing to the Editor-in-Chief for consideration by the Editorial Board. Review articles should contain a substantial amount of new information and/or represent a major reassessment of previous data and observations. Review articles are always subject to peer review. Those solicited by the Editorial Board will be given priority of publication.
  5. Thematic sets of papers are welcomed, but should not be submitted without prior agreement. A short proposal should be submitted in writing to the Editor-in-Chief for consideration by the Editorial Board. This should summarize the scope of the thematic set, detail the intended audience, anticipated date of submission, the approximate number of papers (including the likely size of individual manuscripts). The journal will not produce a thematic issue; other papers will be included in the same issue. A thematic set of papers will usually comprise up to one third of an issue (around 5–7 papers). Either a ‘guest editor’ or one of the Scientific Editors of Palaeontology will serve as editor for the set.

Thematic papers must be of broad interest and of high quality. Each contribution will be treated as an ordinary publication and peer reviewed. Thematic issues can also be prepared as part of the Special Papers in Palaeontology series (where publication as a stand-alone issue may be possible. Those who are interested in submitting a proposal should consult the instructions for Special Papers in Palaeontology (see below).

Special Papers in Palaeontology

This monograph series accommodates:

  • single papers that are longer than would be normally accepted in Palaeontology;
  • thematic collections or other sets of articles. The subject of any thematic set must be of broad interest.

The decision as to whether a manuscript is published as one paper as or in a Special Paper or sub-divided into shorter papers and accommodated in Palaeontology rests with the Editor-in-Chief. The decision may be dictated by current production schedules.

A thematic issue is usually managed by one or more 'guest editors', who will work closely with the Editor-in-Chief to deliver the thematic set. The guest editors are expected to write a short introduction to the volume. Their names will appear as the editors at the end of each paper.

Author(s) wishing to submit a manuscript for Special Papers in Palaeontology should submit a short proposal in writing to the Editor-in-Chief. Any proposal for a thematic set should do likewise. For the latter the following information is also required:

  1. Names and contact details of the guest editors;
  2. A list of proposed papers, including title and all authors;
  3. A brief explanation of its aims and how it will enhance the journal;
  4. Details of the meeting that generated the set (if appropriate);
  5. the planned schedule for submission, refereeing and editing.

These proposals will be considered by the Editorial Board; if required, the expert opinion of an internal or external reviewer may be sought. The key criterion for acceptance of the proposal will be the perceived appeal of the manuscript or thematic set to the general readership of Palaeontology. Any submission that is invited is not guaranteed publication; it should be prepared following the instructions to authors carefully, and will be subject to peer review.

Details of how to submit a manuscript and the review process, together with a comprehensive set of Instructions to Authors, are available online

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